SRC, ZC stand-off rages on

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

THE Sports and Recreation Commission have directed the suspended Zimbabwe Cricket Board to seek recourse in the courts of law in accordance with the SRC Act if they are not happy with Government’s decision to kick them out of office.

The ZC board was suspended last Friday for defying a Government directive to suspend an elective AGM.

However, suspended chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani has maintained they are still the bonafide leadership despite the installation of an interim committee led by veteran cricket administrator Dave Ellman-Brown.

ZC’s acting managing director Givemore Makoni was also suspended. And, in an interesting development, the ZC staff yesterday woke up to a big surprise when they found their office doors locked, with police sealing off the premises in Newlands.

One of the workers said they had reported for duty since they thought the suspensions only applied to the board and the managing director.

“ZC suspended directors have locked the premises of Zimbabwe Cricket with instructions that no one is to enter the premises.

“All staff have been prevented from entering the premises by the private security company hired by ZC. Police details are monitoring the ZC HQ to ensure that no assets and other documents leave the premises pending a forensic audit by the interim committee in conjunction with the ICC,” said Sports Commission board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa yesterday.

The Sports Commission board chairman said they have been communicating with the ZC board over the allegations levelled against them until a decision to suspend them was reached last Friday.

Chairman of the suspended ZC board Mukuhlani has vowed to fight the suspension and made allegations of long-running personal vendettas between him and Mlotshwa.

But Mlotshwa dismissed these allegations.

“I think these guys are raising a lot of baseless allegations which shouldn’t be entertained.

“We wrote to them on June 13 with the directive to suspend their elective AGM and they defied that order.

“We sent another letter the following Monday asking them to explain why they had disregarded a Government directive and we even warned that action could be taken in accordance with Section 30 of the SRC Act.

“So if they are not happy with the action, they must go to the courts in accordance with Section 32 of the Act. In terms of law, if you have a problem with the law, there is recourse through the courts of law.

“They must go to the courts,” said Mlotshwa.

An interim board led by former ZC chairman and CEO Ellman-Brown, is set to take over the affairs of the organisation until a new election is held by September next year.

Mlotshwa said they noted electoral malpractices and financial mismanagement as the other reasons for the suspension of the ZC board.

But Mukuhlani maintained Sports Commission erred in that they did not give them the right to be heard and have also not communicated their decision formally.

He also alleged that the Sports Commission board chairman, Mlotshwa, “is fighting personal vendettas” with him.

“In so far as we are concerned we are a legitimate board, we were properly elected through a proper electoral process.

“We have never been asked to be heard by the SRC board, of which we are entitled to be heard. The chairman of the SRC cannot be the judge, the complainant and the police at the same time. There is no law like that.

“He has never met Zimbabwe Cricket and in his first board meeting he suspends the ZC board. That’s absurd. As per the provision of the Act, we were supposed to be invited for a hearing and get the opportunity to give our presentation.

“In any case, in all those allegations, they are using the documentation that was submitted by the push committee to Minister Kazembe Kazembe when he was still the Minister of Sport and it was championed by the now chairman of the SRC.

“So he is only furthering the agenda that he has always had. It would appear that the SRC chairman came with a resolution when he was appointed to the board.

“It is very clear. Gerald Mlotshwa wanted to liquidate Zimbabwe Cricket. In essence, he wanted to remove the board. So he is only fulfilling his desire by abusing Section 30 of the SRC Act and abusing his new office. But we will not sit back, we will fight for justice.

“We will not allow the SRC (board) chairman to use bullying tactics to make associations submit to his agenda.

“Mlotshwa  should have recused himself from issues to do with ZC because he is seriously conflicted.

“In any case, he has raised allegations, and they remain allegations until proven true. As it stands everyone at ZC is innocent until proven guilty,” said Mukuhlani.

He also denied allegations of financial impropriety. Mukuhlani said they will not co-operate with a new audit to be established by the Sports Commission until they get results from a Government-instituted audit that has been taking place.

“We have had an audit since last year, which was supposed to end in November but the SRC, for their own convenience, are terminating the contract of the auditor without giving us the findings of that audit.

“We have been working with the auditors, we co-operated. Remember that audit was instituted by the minister and we co-operated with him fully and all we are saying is the SRC should give us the results of that audit.

“So we are clear in our conscience that the SRC wants to manipulate the audit. They have a predetermined outcome.

“That’s why they want a new audit and we are not going to accept that. We will only accept an audit that comes from the ICC,” said Mukuhlani.

Source : The Herald

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